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Implementation and Assessment of New Techniques in Technical Writing

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Assessment of Student Learning – New Engineering Educators Division

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

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Paper Authors


Hani Serhal Saad Eastern Washington University

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B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Marquette University
PhD. in Mechanical Engineering, Washington State University

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Teaching technical writing to engineering students is a challenging task since they are very math oriented and reluctant to recognize the importance of the topic. But communication is most definitely an engineering asset that any successful engineer must have. The goal of this research is to compare the technical writing performance of students before and after a series of changes were implemented in the university’s technical writing course ‘Laboratory Analysis and Reports’. These changes included providing more feedback to students, allowing them to resubmit assignments after an initial grading, reading assignments in front of the class, reading, summarizing and discussing technical papers in addition to other laboratory exercises. The results are evaluated by grading a number of student final projects from the pre and post-changes cases. The final project is an extensive report on a fictitious experiment the students have designed and supposedly executed. The idea is not to have them execute the experiment, but write effectively about it. Grading is done without the grader knowing whether the student is from a class where these changes were implemented or not. The assessment was done using six criteria that include: (a) document structure (b) objectives and conclusion, (c) grammar and spelling, (d) quality of writing, (e) depth of analysis and (f) scientific integrity. The results obtained show increases of 8% for categories (a), (c) and (d) , 14% for category (b), 7% for category (f) and a decrease of 3% for category (e). These results suggest that the changes implemented had a positive impact on the technical writing level of the students.

Saad, H. S. (2018, June), Implementation and Assessment of New Techniques in Technical Writing Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30611

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